The Proposal (2009)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Sandra Bullock is one of the most naturally funny comedic actresses in the business, so it comes as no surprise that I went and saw this in theaters and now own a copy of The Proposal. Despite unkind remarks by the media, this film is delightful.
People detest her. People avoid her. People IM about her. She is Margaret Tate (Bullock), a successful book editor who runs a strict department: if everything isn’t just so, she’s annoyed. For three years, Margaret’s dedicated young assistant Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds) has stood by watching Margaret push people around (even though his family urges him to quit: every day). Andrew has put up with it for one simple reason: he wants to be a book editor. The start to a perfect day quickly turns into disaster for Margaret when she learns that her visa has been denied, needless to say Margaret is livid! (After all, she’s Canadian not a terrorist!) Just when her superiors tell her that nothing can be done, inspiration hits and she announces that she and Andrew are getting married … and no one is more surprised than the groom!

Peppered with immigration questions, Andrew and Margaret con their way through the interview and before they know it, are planning a trip to visit Andrew’s parents to share the happy news, only this time its Margaret who is in for a surprise when she learns his family is in (surprise!) Alaska.

Each time I see this, the more I love it. Is it filled with typical clichés? Yes, but then what film doesn’t have some sort of annoying tired joke or repetitive plot twist? You would be hard-pressed to find many that are entirely unique. What The Proposal does have is a fantastic leading couple whose wonderful and fun chemistry makes their interaction a happy thing to see on-screen. Who’d have thought veteran Bullock and the then-newcomer Reynolds would make a charming on-screen couple? Their quietly tender moments (which are all too rare) result in lovely pieces of filmmaking. Really though, the whole cast deserves mentioning, as they are all wonderful (although none were funnier than Betty White herself).

Sadly, Hollywood likes us to think that marriage, even for all the wrong reasons is “normal.” While The Proposal is purely for laughs and not meant to be taken seriously, it never ceases to amaze the lengths to which Hollywood attempts to persuade us this is typical. Margaret’s motivation for forcing Andrew to accept her “bribe” was totally selfish and not once was she thinking of him. Shell-shocked at the onset, Andrew doesn’t quite know what to make of it, until he extracts a little payback (being forced into something he isn’t receptive to, why not gain something from the deal?). Of the utmost importance in any film are the lessons characters ultimately learn, because without that, you feel like nothing was worthwhile. This story is no different; Margaret learns a valuable life lesson as well as the meaning of family, and is better because of it.

In the director's chair is romantic-comedy veteran Anne Fletcher (Step Up, 27 Dresses) - I’ve so enjoyed her other projects. Being a dance choreographer, each of her films seem to have some type of dancing and this film includes a hilarious little sequence showing us a wild side of Margaret. Filmmaking is both commendable and disappointing. Even though it wasn’t filmed in Alaska, scenery shots are beautiful as are key shots between Margaret and Andrew, but unexpectedly some scenes and backdrops looked unrealistic.

For once I must mildly complain about the extended conclusion during credits. For some reason, this time around it actually seemed to “ruin” the previous scene. Maybe I just didn’t want to know filmmakers decision on what happened next, maybe I wanted to be left to imagine an ending, but whatever (it just didn’t “feel” right). For fans of Bullocks classic While You Were Sleeping, many similarities are visible between the two, only this production is much “updated.” Several things are comparable; right down to Bullock’s tearfully touching speech. Even so, it’s unique on its own. Lack of certain scenes enhances the romance so much. Ultimately whether we realize it or not, this factor allows us to “like” the characters all the more. I probably still haven’t laughed so hard to this day in seeing something at the theaters. (Most the time, we are just too conscious of other audience members.) And, The Proposal tickles the funny bone. So, is this proposal worth saying ‘yes’ too? If you ask me, yes!

What did you all think of The Proposal? Do you have a favorite movie with Sandra Bullock? Share below…

(Rated PG13: two scenes are questionable. One involves a male stripper which gets a bit risqué; it’s more “comical” than “sexy.” Another scene has Margaret and Andrew naked [full frontal views of Margaret with everything inappropriate covered, and then full side views of both]. Other problems include some crude remarks [sexual references] and uses of sh*t, a** and an exclamation of “Jesus!”)


  1. The first time I watched this movie, I watched it with a group of friends who did nothing but bash it...because of content. I watched it myself a second time and found it really cute. Granted, I skipped the two problematic scenes, but it is a very sweet movie.

    And you know what, I agree with you. I think the movie should have ended how it did and not with the whole "scenes as the credits roll" type of thing.

    I do love Sandra Bullock. I like her in "The Lake House" "The Blind Side" and this one...I did Miss Congeniality once and there was a bit (or rather a lot) of innuendo in that. But parts were cute ;-)

  2. Ooh! I am sorry your friends didn't like this one, Ella! I LOVED it from the moment I walked out of the theater. Normally I WANT a little more in a story so I like photos, an extra scene or a mini "bio" in the credits, but this time, it just seemed to take away from Andrew's oh-so-romantic declaration at the office. ;-)

    I loved Ryan and Sandra together, too. I am hoping the rumors about them starring together in something else are true.

    "The Lake House" is a beautiful movie. Some people think it's strange, but it is one of my very favorites. And, who doesn't think "The Blind Side" isn't an inspiring movie?? It is just great!

    The "Miss Congeniality" movies are HILARIOUS! I have the first one edited from some company that edits them, so I don't know that I ever watched the original version. Then, I did see the 2nd one in its original form and actually liked it just as well. Sandra is just a great actress and is always wonderful to watch.

    Thanks for your opinions, Ella; it's great reading them. =)


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